With so many users active on social media over the holidays, there was a huge panic over a rather substantial, unexpected change to Instagram. Here’s what actually happened and what it means.

Instagram had intended to update the beta version of the user interface for a small number of people. But, something happened down the line and it ended up being shipped out to everyone! *facepalm*

The update changed that familiar scrollable feed to a tap-through style, similar to what we’re used to with Stories. There was a lot of immediate, negative responses from users. But that hasn’t stopped Instagram from being done with this idea!

Facebook is pretty vocal about the future of social; Mark Zuckerberg himself proclaimed that “Stories is the future” back in 2016. With half of Instagram’s daily users watching Stories, it’s clearly a very popular and user-friendly feature. You can understand why they’d want to give the interface a shot for their main feed.

So for those of you who want to advertise on Instagram, the formats could be changing! We’re used to tapping through square Stories ads, and scrolling to see full-screen Stories ads. There are usually more opportunities for ad placements in the feed, so that’s a change that Instagram will be working to overcome – the need for more ad formats on Stories. But on a positive note, there’s a chance that tapping through full-screen ads could create a higher ad recall, so it really isn’t all that bad!

It’s important for us to remember that the UI that was accidentally rolled out was a *beta* version. As with everything that platforms do, it’s being designed to better suit user behaviour, and to monetise the platform for advertisers (and yes, ultimately, for themselves too.) So, despite the initial outburst of annoyance and confusion, we’ll soon see how this has been developed. As with any update to social media platforms, we learn and adapt really rather rapidly as users and as advertisers too.

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